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Sharp Health News

Add Mediterranean flair to your breakfast (recipe)

May 25, 2018

Add Mediterranean flair to your breakfast (recipe)

The heart-healthy Mediterranean diet — high in fiber and antioxidants — can help reduce the risk of heart disease, certain cancers, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. With such powerful health benefits, it’s a good idea to incorporate some Mediterranean flair to every meal.

Mediterranean-friendly foods, such as fish and greens, can easily be added to lunch and dinner recipes. But what about your morning meal? Here are five ingredients to work into your breakfast, and why they are beneficial to your health.

Olive oil
Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fat and vitamins E and K. It also stands out as a healthy staple due to its bounty of antioxidants, which may prevent or delay some types of cell damage.

How to add to your breakfast
Drizzle olive oil on avocado toast, or replace butter with olive oil in recipes for pancakes or waffles.

Feta cheese
This crumbled cheese is made with goat’s or sheep’s milk, which, compared to cow’s milk, is richer in vitamins A and B, calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium. It also has less lactose than cheese made with cow’s milk, and is lower in saturated fat.

How to add to your breakfast
Use it as a substitute for salt, or as the cheese in an omelet or breakfast burrito.

Bell peppers
Fresh or roasted, bell peppers add nutrition and a great pop of color to any dish. Peppers are rich in vitamins A and C, fiber, vitamin K, and beta carotene. While all colors pack good nutrients, red peppers deliver extra lycopene, as well as lutein and zeaxanthin — a combination that helps protect against macular degeneration by filtering high-energy light waves.

How to add to your breakfast
Make baked eggs in a basket:

  • Heat oven to 350° F.
  • In a skillet over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon of avocado oil.
  • Add your favorite veggies, such as cubed sweet potatoes, onion, zucchini and fresh spinach; sauté until cooked. Set aside.
  • Add your preferred protein, such as chicken sausage or turkey bacon, and sauté until cooked.
  • Cut bell pepper in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Place on a baking sheet. Fill each half about three-quarters with the veggie hash and crack an egg over the top.
  • Bake peppers for about 25 minutes (depending on preferred yolk consistency).
  • Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with feta cheese and enjoy.

Skip the almonds and reach for fiber- and protein-rich pistachios instead. A great source of healthy fats, pistachios also include many nutrients and antioxidants that help protect against inflammation.

How to add to your breakfast
Smash pistachios or put them in a food processor to create pistachio crumbs. Add them to oatmeal, yogurt or granola mix.

Chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
A high-fiber superfood, garbanzo beans provide protein, folate, calcium, iron and zinc. Studies suggest that beans may also help manage diabetes, reduce heart disease and prevent colon cancer.

How to add to your breakfast
Season and substitute as your meat in an omelet or quiche, or make homemade, protein-packed chickpea butter:

  • Heat oven to 350° F.
  • Drain and rinse 1 (15-ounce) can of garbanzo beans. Spread out garbanzo beans on a baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of avocado oil. Roast for 20 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through. Let cool for 10 minutes.
  • Blend roasted chickpeas. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons honey, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 4 to 7 tablespoons melted ghee (clarified butter), depending on preferred consistency.
  • Store in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to 5 days. Enjoy by spreading on toast with banana slices.

These Mediterranean ingredients lend themselves as perfect additions to many dishes, so make sure to add them to your cart on your next grocery trip.

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